(Press Release)The Amnesty International’s report titled: “Nigeria: More than 1,500 killed in Armed Conflict in North-Eastern Nigeria in early 2014” contains very serious allegations of human right abuses in the north eastern part of Nigeria. This report is a new dimension to the well-known fact that the security operation in that part of the country was necessitated by the need to address the gross abuse of human rights being perpetrated against Nigerians by the terrorists.
It is noteworthy that despite the peculiar asymmetric nature of the security challenge, measures have been put in place to ensure compliance with tenets of human right and rules of engagement by troops involved in the conduct of the mission. Apart from inculcating the necessity for observance of human rights in troops’ regular programmes have been conducted to review the human rights situation related to the conduct of the operations.
It is in this respect that most of those apprehended in the counter-terrorist operations are kept in custody. These detention facilities have been visited by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including International Committee of the Red Cross and others to verify the conditions of detainees. This is even in the face of destruction of relevant amenities by the terrorists who have burnt down prisons, courts and government facilities in that part of the country in the course of their ceaseless attacks.
The claim contained in the Amnesty International’s report attributing gross abuses of human right of Nigerians to both the terrorists and the security forces is quite confounding. Notwithstanding, the fact that the report is not consistent with the actual situation on ground, the security authorities will ensure that the allegations as it affects the government forces are duly investigated. This will be with a view to taking necessary action to address any case of human right breach on the part of troops.
Meanwhile, Nigerians are once again assured that while carrying out the mandate of ridding the country of any vestige of terrorism, necessary efforts will continue to be made to respect the fundamental rights of all citizens.
(Being the text of a press release signed by Director, Defence Information ,Major General AC Olukolade ,Friday April 4th 2014)